On Tuesday "The Oprah Winfrey Show" became a platform for the Hip-Hop community to respond to the Don Imus controversy with a panel discussion featuring Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Kevin Liles, Common and more.

Should musicians lose their jobs or their contracts for using words that are considered racist and sexist? As seen in the video clip below, the former EIC of Essence Magazine thinks so. She is met with many who disagree, however, one of which is Russell Simmons. He thinks actions like this will only make the artists more popular, stating "Pointing at the conditions that create these words from the rappers...should be our No. 1 concern."

He goes on to say that "We're talking about a lot of these artists who come from the most extreme cases of poverty and ignorance ... And when they write a song, and they write it from their heart, and they're not educated, and they don't believe there's opportunity, they have a right, they have a right to say what's on their mind." Conversely, many believe Don Imus's comment came from a place of racist and sexist tendencies.

After the Oprah appearance, these and other high-powered music-industry executives met privately yesterday at the New York home of Lyor Cohen (chairman and chief executive at Warner Music Group) to discuss the state of rap lyrics. Many of Imus' critics have been pointing towards offensive language in rap music, and with his recent fall - what kind of across-the-board standards should be set when it comes to dealing with freedom of speech?

The summit, essentially a gathering to "discuss issues challenging the industry in the wake of controversy surrounding hip-hop and the First Amendment," lasted several hours. Originally a news conference was scheduled at a Manhattan hotel to discuss initiatives agreed upon at the forum, however, it did not result in any specific initiative. The conference was postponed and Simmons' publicist released a statement that described the topic as a "complex issue that involves gender, race, culture and artistic expression. Everyone assembled today takes this issue very seriously." Simmons and Chavis, who called the meeting, lead the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network with the motto: "Taking Back Responsibility," and while this looks good on paper - it's clearly proving to be a much more complex issue.

Rev. Al Sharpton also has the rap community on his radar. After being a key figure in protesting Imus, he announced he has suspended his plans to honor L.A. Reid during his National Action Network convention in New York this week. Reid's label Def Jam has several artists who use racist and sexist lyrics in their songs.

More video available here.